This Man’s Wee Boy | Book Review
A Childhood Memoir of Peace and Trouble in Derry
Author: Tony Doherty | Review: Kevin Magee
An incredible home-grown talent and magic book, chronicling the genesis and growth of a working-class family in real working class times. Tony Doherty’s This Man’s Wee Boy deals with a world that was heading towards war – within a world that was also sending men into space. Conjuring images of warmth in a COLD small town many years ago; growing up in a place like Derry is a special experience and deserves to be relayed to the rest of the world, in the funny way we live here.
The book begins in an uneasy time. It follows the events that led up to Bloody Sunday through the eyes of a child and it is through the accuracy of a child’s eyes that events such as B-Men raids, the arrival of the British Army, police harassment and reaction to the use of CS gas are conveyed.
Luckily for those unfamiliar with the unique Derry language, there is a dictionary for reference at the back. So phrases like “d’ye think twelve shillings will grow on a tree out the Daisy Field d’ye,” will not be entirely lost on outsiders and will also be a funny reminder to insiders.
All in all, the innocence of youth gives way to the author’s father’s eventual murder on Bloody Sunday in 1972. We are left with the feeling that a childhood has ended. Sometimes it is funny what we remember from being a child, sometimes it really isn’t.